Engaging Reflection

in Health Professional Education and Practice

Home          Photos          Program          Travel          Links          Contact


Arthur Frank

Arthur W. Frank is professor of sociology at the University of Calgary.  He is the author of At the Will of the Body: Reflections on Illness (1991, new edition 2002) and The Wounded Storyteller: Body, Illness, and Ethics (1995), and The Renewal of Generosity: Illness, Medicine, and How to Live (2004). He is currently writing a book on dialogical narrative analysis, and he is principal investigator of a SSHRC-funded project studying how people use information and communication technologies in doing health work. During academic year 2008-09, he will be visiting professor in the Department of Public Health at the University of Toronto. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and recipient of the Society's 2008 medal for achievement in bioethics.


Dr. Arthur Frank will deliver the following keynote address at the conference:


Bringing Patients into the Reflection: Narrative Means to Better Health Care Practitioner/Patient Relationships

During the past decade, both American and British versions of narrative medicine have made significant contributions as practices of reflection in health care. But in both models, reflection is the pursuit of health care practitioners apart from patients, whose participation seems limited to providing material for health care practitioner reflection. My lecture proposes dialogical reflective practice, based on the premise that if the objective of reflection is to enhance clinical relationships, both people in that relationship need to be engaged in reflection, for it to become a dialogical effort. The lecture offers a basic template for reflection by suggesting the multiple voices in which both health care practitioner and patient speak. Reflection begins with hearing these multiple voices, both in one's own speech, and in the speech of the other.

Stephen Kemmis

Stephen Kemmis is Professor in the School of Education at Charles Stuart University, Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia, and a key researcher in the University's Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education. He is co-author with Wilfred Carr of Becoming Critical: Education, knowledge and action research (London: Falmer, 1986) and, with
Robin McTaggart (2005) of 'Participatory Action Research: Communicative Action
and the Public Sphere', Chapter 23 in Norman Denzin & Yvonna Lincoln (eds.) The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research, 3rd edn. (Thousand Oaks, California: Sage), as well as other publications on action research. His
most recent book, co-edited with Tracey Smith (2008), is Enabling Praxis: Challenges for education, in the Sense Publishers (Rotterdam) 'Pedagogy, Education and Praxis' series. The book is a contribution to an international
research program on praxis development involving researchers from Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland and the United Kingdom.

Dr. Stephen Kemmis will deliver the following address at the conference:


Developing Professional Practice Knowledge through Reflection: Current Trends, Future Directions

There has been a long debate about how research contributes to theoretical knowledge (epistēmē) about practice and to the development of technique in the professions (poiesis). There has also been debate about how research can contribute to praxis as 'right conduct' (on a neo-Aristotelian view of praxis) and as 'socially responsible, history-making action' (on a post-Marxian view) in the professions, and also to phronēsis, the disposition that Aristotle described as guiding and informing praxis. There is a danger in contemporary times, however, that phronēsis comes to be regarded simply as a form of knowledge 'in the heads' (and moral commitments) of practitioners rather than in terms of practical reasoning and practical philosophy – that is, as something that can be taught rather than as something developed through experience and as a capacity to approach the unavoidable uncertainties of practice in a thoughtful and reflective way. In this paper, I will explore the sociality of phronēsis: the notion that praxis is informed by historically-formed practice traditions that give praxis substance and significance, so that 'right conduct' and 'socially-responsible action' are evaluated against historically-given and evolving standards of excellence that orient the collective practice of professions (in addition to the conduct of individual professionals). On this view, critical reflection is to be regarded not only as a task for individual professionals but also as a collective communicative task for members of the communities of practice that constitute professions.


Jeff Nisker

Jeff Nisker is Coordinator of Health Ethics and Humanities and Professor of Obstetrics-Gynaecology and Oncology at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Western Ontario (UWO). His research is transdisciplinary, centering on public engagement for health-policy development, particularly regarding emerging genetic technologies. Similarly, his educational initiatives embrace the humanities and social sciences, such as in his narrative bioethics and health ethics through film courses. Jeff has written many scientific articles and book chapters, as well as six plays and several short stories to explore health issues and encourage compassion in healthcare. His plays have been performed throughout Canada, as well as in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa.


Dr. Jeff Nisker will deliver the following address at the conference:


Theatre to Engage Reflection of Health Professionals, Students, and Other Publics in Compassionate Care

Merging education in healthcare humanities and healthcare ethics into a single professionalism

curriculum allows each exploration to engage reflection through a narrative (play, readers' theatre, poem, film) that not only surfaces issues of professionalism, but brings the learner to the position of the person qua patient or person qua healthcare provider immersed therein.  Use of theatre in healthcare education engages reflection of hearts as well as minds, and avoids the dissolution of compassion in miles of memorized ink and tonnes of tutored words.  Theatre-based health research has been recognized by a CIHR grant, and in 2005 the establishment of a separate grants panel on humanities research.  Theatre can also engage reflection of the public in healthcare issues for education and research purposes.  Hearing public voices, along with the voices of health professionals engaged in theatre can lead to compassionate care.

 Nancy Schön


Nancy Schön is an artist and public art sculptor.  Nancy prides herself in having work that is totally interactive.  Her sculptures are available for people to touch, sit on, hug and interact with every day of the year, day or night.  Nancy's Schön's major works include Make Way for Ducklings which is located in the Boston Public Garden in Boston, Massachusetts and the "Tortoise and Hare" which is a metaphor for the Boston Marathon and is at the finish line in Copley Square.

Nancy married Donald Schön in 1952 and feels their work was very similar. Donald's writing about  "reflection in action" parallels the process of creating a sculpture as the professional reflects on their practice in the midst of practice in order to problem solve. As Nancy creates a work of art, her research is a quest for knowledge and of understanding issues and of learning. "We learn so much from our inquiry but as my husband said, 'we know more than we can say' and I would always say back to him that I think our unconscious is brilliant!" Nancy was recently awarded an honorary doctor of law degree from Mount Ida College in honor of her work in public sculpture.  

Nancy Schön delivered the following address at the conference:



Donald Schön, was a philosopher, a practical philosopher. Donald Schön's most famous book, "The Reflective Practitioner" exemplifies a profound way of looking at professional practice through reflection in and on action.  Nancy Schön's lifework as a sculptor shares similar underpinnings to that of her late husband. The process of creating a design for a sculpture occurs as each piece of clay is added, while constantly reflecting on past and present knowledge to sculpt the best result.  Similarly, in professional life, people interact and reflect on their practices, considering past experiences in a way that may ultimately lead to a change in practice or perhaps, in the artistry or the design of one's work.


May 13-15  2009                                                            London Ontario Canada


Locksmith for Your Needs
House Cleaning Dallas